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Italian Marble and Granite

Call Us: 716-741-1800

9 Unique Ways To Use Stone In Your Home

9 Unique Ways To Use Stone In Your Home

Almost every home you walk into has stone countertops in the kitchen, bathroom, or both. But there are so many other ways to incorporate stone into a home that’ll add style & value – starting with fireplaces.

You can use the stone to create a fireplace surround (the picture to the right) or the entire fireplace (the picture to the left).

To add style and durable storage space, you can place a stone countertop in the pantry!

You can also use stone for accent walls,

shower walls,and backsplashes.  Another unique way to use stone in your home is to create a tabletop or desk! Lastly, like the pantry, you can add style and durable storage space to your laundry rooms and closets by adding stone counters. .

There are so many unique ways you can use stone, don’t limit it to kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Creating The Perfect Countertops For Your Home

Creating The Perfect Countertops For Your Home

Choosing new countertops can be a stressful project. Italian Marble and Granite is here to help make the process easier and help you create the countertops of your dreams. When choosing new countertops you should consider cost, function, and style.

The cost of countertops widely ranges based on the material you choose and how much you need (based on square footage). Set a budget before you begin your search. 

Granite can range from $40 to $100 per square foot. 

Quartz can range from $50 to $155 per square foot. 

Marble can range from $60 to $250 per square foot. 

Quartzite can range from $55 to $150 per square foot. 

Porcelain can range from $55 to $120 per square foot. 

Dekton can range from $60 – $95 per square foot. 

 

Next, you should consider function. Ask yourself these questions: How often do I cook? Is my kitchen a low or high- traffic area? Do a lot of people use the kitchen? These questions will help you narrow down what material would be best for your home based on durability. 

Lastly, choose and design a stone that fits your style. Style is more than colors and veining; it also consists of edging or the placement of the sink and the type of finish you want. You can choose from a leathered, polished, or honed finish. A leathered finish leaves the stone slightly matte with a textured appearance and makes the surface less shiny, and retains more of the natural color. A polished finish is smooth and shiny and causes the stone to appear slightly darker in color. A honed finish has a smooth matte appearance which dulls the color of the stone. 

Each stone has its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s break them down one at a time. 

Many customers choose granite because of its durability. It is resistant to heat, stains, and scratching and is difficult to damage. Unless shattered, damage to granite is repairable. Regardless, granite is a porous stone and, as a result, needs to be sealed. 

Quartz is another popular option due to its durability. Quartz is non-porous, which means sealing quartz is unnecessary. Quartz is also highly stain-resistant. However, it is not heat-resistant, and placing hot objects on the surface will cause discoloration or burn marks. Repairing quartz is more difficult due to its composition, and some damage is irreparable.

Marble is the most delicate stone you can choose. It is prone to scratching & etching and requires more care than other stones. To prevent etching, we suggest honed marble. Since the surface is dull, scratches and etching will be harder to see. 

Quartzite offers beauty and durability. It is resistant to etching, UV, and scratching. Unless shattered, damage to quartzite is repairable. Quartzite can be stained, and some varieties require sealing. 

Porcelain is another durable option. It is essentially scratch-resistant (ceramic knives may scratch it). Porcelain is also heat, stain, and UV resistant. But like all other stones, porcelain has its weakness and will crack if hit with a hard object (like a hammer). 

Dekton is one of the newer and more durable engineered stones available. It has the highest scratch & high impact resistance created. It is also resistant to stains, fire & heat, abrasions, and UV. Dekton also has a non-porous surface that prevents water from being absorbed. 

All of these options can last for years if properly maintained. Here are a few tips when it comes to caring for your countertops: 

  1. Seal stones as suggested by the installer. 
  2. We recommend using cleaners created for the stone you have. If you don’t have one, we recommend using warm water with mild soap- stay away from harsh and acidic chemicals. 
  3. Place heavier objects on stone surfaces gently. 
  4. Heat resistant or not, use hot pads, trivets, and cutting boards. Repeated exposure to high heat will result in damage. 

The better stone is cared for, the longer it will last.

 

Know your Stone: Granite

Know your Stone: Granite

Granite will always be a popular choice for countertops. It is durable, has natural beauty, comes in many colors, and can be cost-effective (depending on which slab you choose). So what exactly is granite, and what else should you know about it?

Granite is formed under the Earth’s surface by magma that slowly cools and crystallizes over time. Granite is made up of quartz, feldspar, micas, amphiboles, and a mixture of additional trace minerals. Some unavoidable characteristics of granite are pits & fissures.

A pit is a gap between the mineral composition of crystals, creating an indentation. Whether or not granite has pits depends on the mineral composition of the stone. While pitting is typically due to changes in the stone’s composite during polishing, it can also be a result of improper care of the stone.

Like pits, fissures are natural to granite. Fissures are a feature of granite that resembles a crack. They are a result of high pressure and heat during formation. A difference between cracks and fissures is that fissures usually appear in more than one place on the stone, whereas cracks are usually in one place.

Granite is stain, scratch, and heat resistant. It is one of the hardest stones on the market and cannot be easily damaged, but that doesn’t mean damage is impossible. Caring for granite is simple. First, seal your granite as recommended by the installer. When cleaning the surface, use a granite cleaner or warm water with mild soap. Avoid harsh and acidic chemicals – these can remove sealant from the countertop, which will leave the surface vulnerable to damage. Also, try to use cutting boards and hot pads to prevent unnecessary damage.

Pros of Granite: Cons of Granite:
–   Heat resistant

–   Scratch-resistant

–   Can be repaired if broken, unless shattered

–  Needs to be sealed; otherwise, there can be staining

–   Is porous

Here are some kitchens that feature beautiful granites.

 

 

 

Lemurian Blue Granite will leave you wondering how nature created something so beautiful. The granite features rich shades of blue, green, turquoise, and black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Via Lattea Granite is simple yet stunning. The granite features a black background with white veins. The leathered finish leaves the stone slightly matte, highlighting the natural contours.

 

 

 

 

 

Monte Cristo Granite is dramatic yet delicate at the same time. The granite features an off-white background colored in beige, navy, and taupe veins and patterns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Horse Granite is one of nature’s most beautiful creations. The granite features thick and dynamic neutral veins painted across a black background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smokey Mountain Granite is bold and beautiful! The granite features a light gray background colored in gray swirls and veins. The leathered finish highlights the patterns, showcasing the different shades of gray.

 

 

Granite is a great option for your home. It is durable – perfect for high-traffic areas, easy to care for, and comes in an assortment of unique colors and patterns.

 

Know Your Stone: Quartz

Know Your Stone: Quartz

Quartz is a common and popular stone used in homes, primarily as backsplashes and countertops. Quartz is a popular choice because it is durable and has a wide selection of color choices and patterns. So, what exactly is quartz?

Quartz is a manufactured stone composed of natural minerals and resin. The minerals are mined and then ground into an aggregate and fused with resin & heat to form a beautiful quartz slab. Since quartz is a manufactured stone, it isn’t as glossy as natural stones. It does have a polished finish, but not the glass-like look like granite. However, quartz is just as durable as granite. The difference is that damage caused to quartz is harder to repair or irreversible.

Quartz is not porous, which means sealing quartz is unnecessary. Quartz is also highly stain-resistant but not stain-proof. Foods, such as food dyes, cause staining. Clean up spills quickly to prevent staining. But if staining does occur, it is repairable damage.

Repairing quartz is more difficult due to its composition. Avoid these common errors to prevent having to replace your counters. First, just because you can cut on your quartz does not mean you should.  Quartz is strong, but knives are sharp. Consistently cutting on your quartz stone may result in scratches and chips. Also, certain foods have high acidity, and the juice can cause etching in the quartz.

Second, quartz can be cracked or chipped. Activities such as throwing car keys on the countertop every day can cause damage over time. Place harder objects on the counter lightly. If you have an island that doubles as seating space, try not to let the chair hit the counter – overtime damage will occur.

Third, quartz is not heat resistant. Use heat protectants; exposing quartz to extreme heat may cause irreversible damage. It’s okay to place a hot cup of coffee or bowl of soup, but lay down a hot pad or trivet before placing hot pans on the counter. If you allow long and constant exposure to high heat, it will lead to discoloration or burn marks on the quartz. Discoloration caused by heat damage usually can’t be fixed, and you will need to replace that entire slab of stone. In addition, sudden extreme changes in temperature can create thermal expansion and cause the surface to crack.

Lastly, care for your quartz properly. We recommend using cleaners specifically created for quartz; other cleaners may have chemicals that can cause damage. Here are a few to look out for: concentrated alkaline products (baking soda), abrasive cleaning materials (vinegar, alcohol-based, and bleach), and cleaning products with high acidity.  If you do not have a quartz cleaner, use warm water and mild soap. Avoid harsh chemicals because they can potentially break down the bonds between the resins and quartz

All things considered, it takes a lot to cause damage to quartz, but it is possible. Use cutting boards, hot pads or trivets, do not use excessive force when placing hard objects on the stone, and use the proper cleaners. Follow these suggestions, and your quartz is guaranteed to last for years.

Need a good quartz cleaner? Come by our showroom and pick up a bottle of MORE, a Daily Quartz Cleaner + Protector.

Know Your Stone: Taj Mahal Quartzite

Know Your Stone: Taj Mahal Quartzite

Hidden in the Hills of Goiana, Brazil, you’ll find one of the most desired stones, Taj Mahal Quartzite. Over the last few years, Taj Mahal has increased in demand due to its aesthetics and durability.

Quartzite is a natural stone formed by crystallizing from molten magma. Since Taj Mahal is a fully re-crystallized stone, it is considered a true quartzite. It is ideal for countertops, backsplashes, waterfall islands, and accent walls. Quartzite resists moisture, bacteria, stains, scratches, etching, and heat. The stone is also low maintenance and, if broken, can be repaired (unless shattered).

Taj Mahal Quartzite features creamy colors and marble-like veins. The soft white background has wispy gold and brown veining. When you choose Taj Mahal as your stone, it is not difficult to design the rest of the room.

Taj Mahal Quartzite pairs well with many colors. Here are a few colors that bring out the beauty in the stone. Taj Mahal looks beautiful with off-white, beige, or cream-colored cabinets. Pairing the two can create a clean look with a soft and homier atmosphere. Second, you could use earth-toned cabinets to create a more natural and rustic kitchen, for example, wood. Third, if you prefer color, you can use blue cabinets. The tan tones in the stone complement the blue color, creating a sophisticated look.

Lastly, care and maintenance when it comes to quartzite. Seal your countertops as recommended by your installer. Clean up spills promptly; allowing spills to sit can cause staining in the stone. When cleaning your counters, use a cleaner made for quartzite. If you do not have a quartzite cleaner, you can use warm water with mild soap. Remember to steer clear of harsh cleaners and chemicals. Lastly, don’t forget to use coasters, cutting boards, and hot pads to protect the stone from any unnecessary damage. If you follow these tips, your stone will last for years.

Taj Mahal is a beautiful and durable stone. It is perfect for vertical and horizontal application and ideal for high-traffic areas. Schedule an appointment to visit our showroom to see if Taj Mahal is the stone for you.